Love Stage!! Volume 2
Now that we’ve established the premise of Love Stage!! (story by Eiki Eiki, drawn by Taishi Zaou, published by SuBLime), volume 2 is about building the relationship between manga wannabe Izumi and actor Ryoma.
The light-hearted tone of the story is established early on, when Ryoma drops by Izumi’s school to wait for him after class. Izumi, embarrassed by some of the physical contact they had in the previous book, runs away, but doesn’t get far, thinking to himself, “Crap, that’s right! I’m an otaku! What little physical strength I have is almost gone!” Meanwhile, Ryoma, embarrassed by how geeky Izumi appears, gives him a makeover before baring his heart and apologizing to him. It’s important to have one’s priorities in order, after all.
Ryoma’s trying to win over Izumi, because Ryoma’s love has already lasted a decade. Izumi’s trying to get used to the idea while being embarrassed in public by the overly dramatic Ryoma. The result is a light-hearted love story that’s a pleasure to read and laugh at.
Particularly amusingly silly is how Izumi is trying to create a manga for a publishing contest. He’s a really bad artist, and while enlisting Ryoma brings them closer together as friends, it doesn’t help the quality of his output. It does provide a bonding excuse, though, particularly once they start trying to avoid the interfering manager Mr. Sagara, another funny member of the ensemble cast. That’s another thing I like about the series — every major character so far is someone I want to learn more about.
I’d be perfectly fine never getting around to the sex scenes, since I like this series as a romantic comedy. There are those, too, for the more dedicated yaoi fans.